University Times

Kintsugi: Celebrating Flaws

Students learn a new way to make art from broken pieces.

Kintsugi+was+a+chance+for+students+to+turn+broken+pieces+into+a+beautiful+work+of+art.
Kintsugi was a chance for students to turn broken pieces into a beautiful work of art.

Kintsugi was a chance for students to turn broken pieces into a beautiful work of art.

Cara Gonzales

Cara Gonzales

Kintsugi was a chance for students to turn broken pieces into a beautiful work of art.

Mary Pace, Contributor

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Last Tuesday, Cal State LA’s Cross Cultural Centers (CCC) hosted Kintsugi, a fun and creative workshop where students transformed broken artifacts into works of art.

Kintsugi originated when a Japanese shogun sent a damaged tea bowl to China to undergo repairs. Upon its return, the bowl was placed back together with metal staples.

The shogun found the artifact to be aesthetically displeasing. As a result, craftsmen had to create alternatives of repairing while maintaining aesthetic beauty. This gave birth to the art of Kintsugi, which is an ancient Japanese art form that fixes broken objects and turn them into visually appealing pieces.

Specifically, the aesthetic touch is applied when students paint over broken lines with lacquer dust or powdered gold.

Stephanie Van, who works as a Cross Cultural Centers Program Coordinator, appreciated the event, as it highlighted the services that they offer in the resource centers:

“Kintsugi is a metaphor of breaking and putting the pieces back together. The culturally relevant aspect of it is being a Japanese art form and also the healing metaphors we’ve shared today.”

The event is part of the CCC’s Making and Healing Series, which promotes students to create works of art that represent their own healing and recovery process.

Jeniffer Reyes, a Faculty Counselor with the Student Health Center, was inspired by the power of the arts:

“In counseling, we usually just focus on talking, but I know that engaging in arts can definitely be a way to tap into our strengths and lead to a creative way of healing ourselves.”

In order to get started, students need: a disposable plastic surface, popsicle craft sticks, scissors, JB Weld, gloves, masking tape, liquid gold leaf, a very thin brush, a pillowcase and a pottery piece (such as a bowl, mug or plate).

First, students placed their pieces inside of a pillowcase. After safely sealing it, they broke their pottery piece by smashing it on the floor or a table.

Once their piece broke, students arranged the pieces to see how they would come together. Using glue, the broken pieces were linked to their connecting piece, similar to a puzzle.

Finally, students painted the cracks using liquid gold leaf and thin brush. The result was an artwork that took something broken and transformed it into a beautiful gilded piece.

Reyes inspired the attendees to consider their thoughts and feelings while they worked on their projects:

“Are you being critical, or are you bringing self-compassion, patience?” she asked.

By asking these questions, Reyes hoped to help students see the therapeutic aspect of the art.

Kimberly Cordon, an english major, found her piece to be a transformative experience:

“It’s a nice way to know that you have flaws, just like the broken pieces, and turn them into something beautiful.”

The project allowed her to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be flawed as a human:

“I never thought that your flaws are what make you lovely. This reinterprets what it means to be flawed as something more positive, and not just something you have to fix. This is a positive learning experience.”

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Kintsugi: Celebrating Flaws